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Classified Australian files 'accidentally sold'

Classified Australian files 'accidentally sold'

"The documents were in two locked filing cabinets sold at an ex-government sale in Canberra", the ABC says.

Mr Abbott's expenditure review committee considered banning anyone under 30 from accessing income support ahead of the 2014 budget.

'(Espionage and foreign influence) is not something we think might happen, or possibly could happen, it is happening now against Australian interests in Australia and Australian interests overseas'.

While Australians have been amused by the manner in which the documents came to light, government officials are furious at the leak.

The cabinet documents contain details including an email exchange between the cabinet secretariat and the AFP, which revealed the AFP had lost 400 files between 2008 and 2013.

"The thousands of pages reveal the inner workings of five separate governments and span almost a decade".

The revelations of the extraordinary cache of confidential cabinet documents, which was then leaked to the ABC, comes as the Turnbull government pushes sweeping changes to the nation's espionage and intelligence laws that could see those in possession of sensitive government information jailed for 20 years. "Inside was the trove of documents now known as The Cabinet Files", the ABC reported.

According to ABC reporters Ashlynne McGhee and Michael McKinnon the filing cabinets had "sat unopened for some months until the locks were attacked with a drill".

Among the revelations are that nearly 200 sensitive documents were left in the office of a former senior minister after the Australian Labor party lost power after the 2013 election.

Crucially, they expose repeated security breaches of Australia's most sensitive and classified documents and a seemingly casual attitude of some of those charged with keeping the documents safe. These documents reveal how key decisions have been made. The classifications include "top secret", "sensitive", "Australian eyes only", and "cabinet-in-confidence". Mr Rudd told a royal commission into the program the rollout would have been delayed had cabinet been warned of the safety risks.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott said he believed a junior or mid-ranking departmental officer was to blame and insisted they "pay a price".

It also mentioned that former Prime Minister John Howard's administration had debated removing the right of people to remain silent under police questioning.

The allegations were later disproven amid huge public controversy, and Dr Haneef was awarded compensation by the Australian government.

"The Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has initiated an urgent investigation into the circumstances around the disposal of two Commonwealth Government filing cabinets that allegedly contained classified material", it said.

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